Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy

A country priest comes to Kakinada, finding joy with his people in Christ's Sacred Heart.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Honoring Christ's Sacred Heart in Kakinada

"Thank you...for the kind and loving prayers towards my mission. We had a good and grand celebration yesterday.  The ceremony, Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, started by exactly 6 pm in the  evening. Eleven priests were present for the Eucharist."

This was the first time so many priests gathered at this new mission for a function, wrote Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy, about the June event that marked his first major celebration as pastor of his new mission, Sacred Heart of Jesus in Kakinada.

Traditional Indian dancers led the procession toward the outdoor Mass. But "after first reading it was heavy rain," wrote Fr. Varghese, "so we all rushed in to the church. The church was fully packed. Many stood outside just because of no place inside."

Father wrote about the "church," but since the mission is so young, it still lacks a church building. People meet inside a multi-purpose hall and pray for the day when they will have their own church.

Storms threatened, as the Mass began.

Blessing the people:

"Bless all hearts that love thee."
After storms rolled in, parishioners ran for their "church,"
a multi-purpose hall.

 "After the Mass we had the inauguration of the newly-formed youth group. It was history made. Thirty members joined the group. For our meeting we had only 15, but God gave us another 15. So the name of the youth group is "Warriors of St. John."

Three people sponsored a meal for attendees and priests, on this special day for Sacred Heart Mission.

To everyone who keeps Fr. Varghese and his people in heart and mind, the missionary says, "Thank you for praying for my mission."

Volunteers helped beautify and decorate the mission
for their special feast.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Preparing for their Feast

Gowry the cow escaped and went for a little outing at the sea shore, as faithful worked to beautify their mission compound for their celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Mission children play at Kakinada Bay.

"Morning 5:00 AM onwards we were searching for her," wrote Fr. Varghese, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Mission in Kakinada. "She was caught in a bush and was unable to come out... It was just near to the harbor."

With the mission pet caught and contained, preparations continued for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heat of Jesus, an important feast for the Kakinada mission bearing that name.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus takes shape
under skillful hands.
"The boys are active and the girls are creative, elders are pensive and the ladies are intensive, so things are going on well," wrote Fr. Varghese.
Faithful volunteered many hours to make the mission
beautiful for their feast.
Working with a tight mission budget, the faithful got creative with decorations, using draperies and hand-painted foam to brighten their hall and to prepare an outside location for the Mass.

On Saturday, missionary friend Fr. Baskhar travelled in from the jungle to help Fr. Varghese with confessions and final preparations.  

"I am just giving some guidelines for the celebrations," wrote Fr. Varghese, in the final hours before the celebration.

"Thank God the rain stopped, and I pray let the rain fall by again Monday (to cool off the climate)." 
A sign at the mission's road point.

Preparing for such an event draws faithful together.
The altar in the mission hall.
Infant Jesus inside the mission hall.
Special care turns a statue of
the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the
mission hall into a grotto.
Our Lady of Good Health.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Consecrated to the Heart of Jesus

"Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart," wrote Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy on June 27, 2014.

"Actually today is our parish feast but we celebrate on Sunday as solemnity."

Missionaries of Charity joined the faithful and Fr. Varghese for evening Mass in the mission's hall, then processed to the grotto of the Pieta at the entrance to their compound. The structure is topped by a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Fr. Varghese said people were happy to make a formal consecration of their lives to Christ's Sacred Heart, many for the first time.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Corpus Christi 2014

Adoring Christ's Body and Blood,
Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.
"We had a great and solemn celebration for Corpus Christi," wrote Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy, about celebrating this June 22, 2014 feast at his new mission, Sacred Heart of Jesus in Kakinada.

Because local protests stopped Catholics from processing through public streets in Kakinada in years past, Fr. Varghese simply processed with the Eucharist and his people through the church and around the grounds of his compound. He prays that locals' fears might be calmed in future, so a neighborhood procession might take place.
Although temperatures have been a simmering 110-plus degrees F., people were eager to participate in feast day solemnities. They crowded into their un-air conditioned hall, and reverently prayed through the Mass and adoration.

"After the Eucharistic procession, people were very happy and they were thanking me," wrote Fr. Varghese.

People cluster near the altar in the crowded hall
that serves as a church for Sacred Heart Mission.
Fr. Varghese loves spending time with Jesus in the Eucharist, and rejoiced that Corpus Christi offered him "ample time to spend with the Eucharist." 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mass Introduces Fr. Varghese to his People

A classical Indian dancer welcomes visiting priests.
Priests from across the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, traveled to Kakinada June 17, 2014, for a Mass welcoming Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy as new Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.
Sacred Heart is new and lacks a church, so people gather in a hall for Mass. A number of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity came from their home just a walk away. The nuns plan to open a residence for orphans and lepers in Kakinada. Fr. Varghese supports the sisters by hearing their Confessions at their convent.

On top, new pastor Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy 
introduces himself to his flock. Bottom, 
Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity 
came for the Mass.
The total population of Catholics in Sacred Heart includes around 2000 people, wrote Fr. Varghese, in a thank you letter to American friends who showed him "love and caring" during his first visit ever to that nation this past May. 

"Some work in shops and factories. Others are fishermen. Others are vagabonds, who lost everything in natural calamities such as flood, hurricane, etc. My parish is scattered across many meters, so I need to travel a lot to reach my parishioners."
The congregation received gifts of Rosaries
sent from America.
After inviting his faithful at Sacred Heart to join him in a daily 7 PM Rosary, wrote Fr. Varghese, he "re-activated the church choir and the "Mariadalem" (Legion of Mary), who started to lead prayer services and other charitable and spiritual works. Soon we need to organize the youth and youth group, and the altar servers, etc. I also need to construct a church."

However, Fr. Varghese keeps his focus on the "Source and Summit of life," the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. He and his fellow missionaries live by this truth, no matter the inconvenience they encounter in serving remote flocks. Fr. Baskhar, shown below, just took up an assignment serving in a distant forest mission that also lacks a church. After Fr. Varghese's welcoming Mass at Sacred Heart, Fr. Varghese and four of the priests helped Fr. Baskhar move to his new home, at Infant Jesus Mission in Kothakota.
Fr. Baskhar, right of Fr. Varghese,
also just moved to a new assignment,
serving a distant jungle mission that
lacks a church.
The most sacred moment of the Catholic Mass --
 Consecration of the Blessed Eucharist.

Fr. John Peter, Celebrant.

The people laid rugs and hung lights to make
 their hall festive for the occasion.

The reverent priests and people prayed for God's
blessings in their lives, in India and the world.